COMET • Vol. 8, No. 17 – 21 May 2007


Governor’s Revised Budget Proposal

Source: Office of the Governor, State of California; California Department of Education

Governor Schwarzenegger presented his May Revision of the Budget Proposal for 2007-2008 to the Legislature on May 14. The announcement is available at . Links to details about various aspects of the budget can also be accessed from this page, as well as from Excerpts from the K-12 education budget category appear below, along with commentary from State Superintendent of Public Instruction Jack O’Connell:

The May Revision of the Governor’s Budget fully funds Proposition 98 and K-12 education at $68.6 billion… This reflects a total increase of $297.5 million…over the January Budget proposal. The total per-pupil expenditures from all sources are projected to be $11,240 in 2006-07 and $11,584 in 2007-08. These are both all-time records for the state…

Major Changes Included in the May Revision:

…Addressing the Teacher Shortage and Improving Teacher Quality:

The Governor’s May Revision proposes funding for several programs to address the teacher shortage:

– $50 million for grants to school districts to support the hiring of more than 1,000 additional credentialed career technology education teachers.

– An increase of $2 million to the already allocated $10 million to create the EnCorps Teachers Program to add 2,000 experienced retirees to the teaching corps. The EnCorps Teachers Program will establish a public-private partnership with industry and business to actively recruit retiring professionals to the classroom.

– $50 million in grants for school districts to hire more teachers for college preparatory courses (A through G courses) in an effort to assist more students to become eligible to attend college.

– $7.5 million to fund a variety of incentives for existing credentialed teachers in other subject areas to become authorized to teach science and math.

– $2 million for a grant program to assist public school employers and exclusive representatives of credentialed teachers to plan an alternative teacher salary schedule based on criteria in addition to years of training and experience.

– $3 million to continue funding for the Personnel Management Assistance Teams to provide technical assistance to school districts in establishing and maintaining effective personnel management, recruitment, and hiring process.

– $2.5 million for enhancement and expansion of the Administrator Training Program. This program provides effective training and coaching for new K-12 school principals on leadership skills, financial and personnel management, the interrelation between academic standards, instructional materials, and curriculum frameworks, and the effective use of pupil assessments. The current program does not adequately serve existing administrators; the primary purpose of the additional funding is to ensure that these existing administrators receive appropriate training and coaching…

Superintendent Jack O’Connell stated: “The May Revision to the Governor’s budget is good news for education in the context of the overall budget picture, and I applaud Governor Schwarzenegger for this commitment. As comprehensive research on California schools recently made clear, however, our state will need to find both greater efficiencies and new ways to significantly increase the investment in our schools if we are to maintain our competitiveness in the global economy.

“I am tremendously pleased that the Governor included my funding request to support the collection of quality individual student data in a system that will at long last allow our state to report accurately on graduation and dropout rates. The Governor deserves to be congratulated for his commitment to quality student data. This support for the California Longitudinal Pupil Achievement Data System (CalPADS) will provide important quality student-level information needed to more effectively target resources and ensure that districts are better able to meet the specific needs of individual students. I will work with the Governor and Legislature to ensure that funding becomes permanent, and not merely a one-time investment, as schools will need to make permanent decisions such as hiring data specialists in order to deliver quality. I also look forward to continuing a conversation around how we build a student data system that gives us all the information we need to make sound educational decisions, as opposed to one that simply complies with federal law.

“I also applaud the Governor’s efforts to enhance career technical education (CTE) and counseling in high schools. As we expand career-related education options, however, we must be certain we don’t return to the day when students were ‘tracked’ into less-rigorous courses, limiting their options for successful futures. Today, there are many outstanding CTE courses that provide both career training and a rigorous academic foundation. All high school students must have access to challenging, engaging curriculum that prepares them to high standards and has relevance to the real world of work.”

Visit for detailed commentary from the Legislative Analyst’s Office.


(1) Seventh Meeting of the National Math Panel: Invitation to Attend and to Provide Public Comment

Source: Jennifer Graban, U.S. Department of Education

The seventh meeting of the National Math Panel will be hosted by Miami Dade (FL) College on Wednesday, 6 June 2007. There will be a one-hour open session for public comments (8:45-9:45 a.m.) and 2.5 hours (10 a.m.- 12:30 p.m.) for the public to observe the Panel meeting and hear the task groups’ progress reports and discussions on their work to date.

Registrations are now being taken on a first-come, first-served basis for: 
(a) guests who would like to attend the meeting during the open session time and 
(b) individuals/organizations who would like to make public comments on the Executive Order and/or the Panel’s work. If you wish to provide public comments on the Executive Order and/or the Panel’s work, please note that there are limited time slots available, and individual commentators or those representing an organization will be allotted 3-5 minutes to speak.

Miami Dade College, Wolfson Campus, Building 3, Room 3210 – Chapman Conference Center, 2nd floor (300 NE 2 Ave, Miami FL 33132-2296)

If space is not available or if you cannot attend and would still like to provide comments to the National Math Panel, please email written comments, including your contact information to by Wednesday, May 30, 2007.

To pre-register, please provide the following information to Jennifer Graban at or 202-260-1491:

1.  Are you interested in providing public comment on June 6th?

2.  If you would like to make public comments, please provide a brief description of the issue you would like to present as related to the Executive Order:

3. Name, title, organization you represent, address, phone number, and email address

(You will receive a confirmation email with more information before the meeting.)

Pre-registration will close at 5:00 p.m. on Wednesday, May 30, 2007; however, onsite walk-in registration will be available at the meeting. Please note: Those pre-registered for the public comments session have priority over walk-in registrants. Walk-in registrants will be given an opportunity to register for any remaining timeslots.

(2) House Statement on Math and Science Partnership Programs

Source: The American Institute of Physics Bulletin of Science Policy News – 14 May 2007

Concerns about duplication of effort have prompted the Bush Administration to press for a reduction of the National Science Foundation’s Math and Science Partnership program because a program with the same name is administered by the Department of Education. During consideration of H.R. 1867, the National Science Foundation Authorization Act, Rep. Vern Ehlers (R-MI) offered an amendment expressing the Sense of the Congress on the two programs. Subcommittee on Research and Science Education Chairman Brian Baird (D-WA) commented that Ehlers was “absolutely right … It’s a superb amendment. We’re happy to accept it, and I commend him for offering it.” The House adopted Ehlers’ amendment by voice vote.

Ehlers’ May 2 remarks and the text of his amendment follows:

“Mr. Chairman, I rise to address a particular [current] problem with this amendment. We have, for some time, had activities within the National Science Foundation aimed at teaching future teachers, teaching them how to teach math and science, and this generally fell into the rubric of a Math-Science Partnership, because the Foundation itself did not teach the teachers but rather responded to grants submitted by professors at various institutions who were pleased to set up programs to teach these future teachers or existing teachers how better to teach math and science. These have been very successful programs and are commonly referred to as the Math-Science Partnership.

“Recently, the Department of Education has developed programs involving professional development for teachers in elementary and secondary schools to try to bring them up to speed on the latest developments in math and science and how to teach them. They ended up calling it the Math-Science Partnership.

“This has resulted in a problem because some in the administration decided to cut the budget of the National Science Foundation because they felt this was a duplication of programs. It is not.

“The National Science Foundation concentrates on doing research. The Foundation’s model is designed for competitive grants to spur innovative programs that will be peer-reviewed and evaluated to enhance research on effective math and science education, whereas the Department of Education ensures that this knowledge is disseminated to as many school districts as possible. Knowledge gained from the competitive foundation scholarships, in other words the National Science Foundation math-science partnerships, can be used and is used to prove and enhance State investments in programs developed by the Department of Education.

“In other words, these are two programs that happen to have the same names. They are very symbiotic. The discoveries out of the research at the National Science Foundation transfers directly over to the Department of Education, and is there applied to instructions in the classrooms and for teacher training programs.

“Another reason I come to offer this amendment is because the other body, the Senate, is working on this same issue, this same bill, and they have added an amendment which clarifies the difference between the National Science Foundation programs and the Department of Education programs. I am offering essentially the same amendment so that when we go to conference with the Senate, this will be pre-agreed to. It’s a necessary and important clarification of the functions of the two, and I urge the adoption of my amendment.”



It is the sense of the Congress that–

(1) although the mathematics and science education partnership program at the National Science Foundation and the mathematics and science partnership program at the Department of Education practically share the same name, the 2 programs are intended to be complementary, not duplicative;

(2) the National Science Foundation partnership programs are innovative, model reform initiatives that move promising ideas in education from research into practice to improve teacher quality, develop challenging curricula, and increase student achievement in mathematics and science, and Congress intends that the National Science Foundation peer-reviewed partnership programs found to be effective should be put into wider practice by dissemination through the Department of Education partnership programs; and

(3) the Director of the National Science Foundation and the Secretary of Education should have ongoing collaboration to ensure that the 2 components of this priority effort for mathematics and science education continue to work in concert for the benefit of States and local practitioners nationwide.

(3) House Science and Technology Subcommittee Hears from Educators

Sources: NCTM [National Council of Teachers of Mathematics] Legislative and Policy Update – 21 May 2007 and NSTA [National Science Teachers Association] Express – 21 May 2007

[NCTM] Last Tuesday (May 15), the House Science and Technology Subcommittee on Research and Science Education held a hearing titled, “Federal STEM Education Programs: Educators’ Perspectives.”  In his opening statement, Chairman Brian Baird (D-Wash.) couched this hearing as part of an on-going effort to explore how to improve the level of scientific understanding among students and how to attract more students to the science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields.  Both Baird and Ranking Member Vern Ehlers (R-Mich.) believe there are untapped resources in the federal science and technology agencies that could be put to use in their efforts.

Witnesses included Linda Froschauer, an experienced teacher as well as president of the National Science Teachers Association (NSTA), argued that federal investments in STEM education reach only a small percentage of teachers.  Better coordination and communication is needed in order to advance achievement in the STEM fields and students’ knowledge of science and math.  Michael Lach, Director of Mathematics and Science, Chicago Public Schools, echoed Froschauer’s sentiments relative to coordination among federal agencies and emphasized the need for a comprehensive plan that coordinates math and science education.  Van Reiner, President of the Maryland Science Center, spoke to the contributions of “informal education” to connecting young people with latent interest in math, science, and technology.  Reiner commented, “learning by doing enables us to go from global to local to individual, along a continuum, giving the individual the facts, a better understanding or how it relates to them, and hopefully, a quest for more knowledge.

Chairman Baird summed up the problems permeating STEM programs by saying despite the “commendable effort” from the agencies, programs have a “relatively small” impact on student learning.  Baird asked the panelists to comment on what they consider the most important outcome of the participation of federal agencies in education.  Most of the panelists were in agreement and responded that connecting students, parents, and teachers to science and math in an “informal educational” setting is key.  Representative Gerald McNerney (D-Calif.) asked panelists to offer their opinions on what they truly believe to be the best way to excite kids about science and math.  The panelists’ resounding response was “hands-on” activities and face-to-face time with professionals in the fields.

The Chairman closed the hearing by reiterating his earlier comments about the committee’s dedication to improving science education and noted that this hearing is the first in a planned series.  For more information, visit

[NSTA]  On May 15, NSTA President Linda Froschauer and four other leaders in science education (Michael Lach, Director of Mathematics and Science, Chicago Public Schools; George D. Nelson, Director, Science, Technology, and Mathematics Education, Western Washington University; Van Reiner, President, Maryland Science Center; and. Iris Weiss, President, Horizon Research, Inc.) provided their perspectives on federal agency programs for STEM educators when they testified before the House Science Committee’s Subcommittee on Research and Science Education.

During the hearing Chairman Brian Baird (D-WA) asked for input from science teachers nationwide on their experience with federal agency programs.

Tell Congress what you think about programs for science educators provided through the federal mission agencies. We invite you to view the hearing’s Webcast (the hearing starts at 9 minutes: . At this site you can read the testimony from witnesses (lower left-hand corner) and provide your comments at the Contact Us section (right-hand side).

The hearing comes days after the release of the Academic Competitiveness Report (, a year-long initiative chaired by Education Secretary Margaret Spellings that worked to identify all federal education programs with a math or science education focus, to determine areas of overlap or duplication, then recommend processes to integrate and coordinate these programs.

(4) USA Mathematical Olympiad: 2007 Information and Results

Sources: United States of America Mathematical Olympiad; Mathematical Association of America

The members of the Committee on the American Mathematics Competitions (CAMC) are dedicated to the goal of strengthening the mathematical capabilities of our nation’s youth. The CAMC believes that one way to meet this goal is to identify, recognize and reward excellence in mathematics through a series of national contests called the American Mathematics Competitions (AMC). The AMC include: the American Mathematics Contest 8 (AMC 8)…for students in grades 8 and below, begun in 1985; the American Mathematics Contest 10 (AMC 10), for students in grades 10 and below, new in 2000; the American Mathematics Contest 12 (AMC 12)…for students in grades 12 and below, begun in 1950; the American Invitational Mathematics Examination (AIME), begun in 1983; and the USA Mathematical Olympiad (USAMO), begun in 1972.

The USAMO provides a means of identifying and encouraging the most creative secondary mathematics students in the country. It serves to indicate the talent of those who may become leaders in the mathematical sciences of the next generation…The USAMO is a six question, two day, 9 hour essay/proof examination. All problems can be solved with pre-calculus methods. Approximately 500 of the top scoring AMC participants (based on a weighted average) are invited to take the USAMO…

The twelve top scoring USAMO students are invited to a two day Olympiad Awards Ceremony in Washington, DC sponsored by the MAA (Mathematical Association of America), the Akamai Foundation, the Microsoft Corporation and the Matilda Wilson Foundation. Six of these twelve students comprise the United States team that competes in the International Mathematical Olympiad (IMO). The IMO began in 1959; the USA has participated since 1974. Visit  for the rules for USAMO selection.

The MAA Web site reports that “this year, 505 outstanding high school students qualified for the 2007 USA Mathematical Olympiad. On April 24-25, these students tackled a challenging, six-question exam, distributed via the Internet to their schools.” The 12 winners are named at The report goes on to say that “an awards ceremony for the 12 USAMO winners will be held in Washington, D.C., at the MAA Headquarters on May 20 and at the U.S. Department of State building on May 21.

“On May 22-23, the winners will take the team selection test (TST) to try to qualify for the U.S. team, which will compete in the International Mathematical Olympiad (IMO), to be held in Hanoi, Vietnam, July 19-30:  That team will consist of the six students with the highest combined scores from the TST and USAMO. These students will then spend three weeks in June at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln training for the IMO.

“The USAMO is the pinnacle event in the sequence of increasingly challenging mathematical contests administered by the MAA’s American Mathematics Competitions program. More than 225,000 worldwide took the first contest (AMC 10 and/or AMC 12). Only 10,000 were invited to compete in the second contest (AIME). Just 505 of these participants made it to the highly selective and prestigious USAMO.”